Many builders have turned to plastic piping since its introduction in the market roughly 30 years ago, but according to the folks at Healthy Building Science, copper piping is likely the way to go.
Plastic pipes boast easy installation and reported service lives of more than 50 years, but a new study is finding evidence that the chemical compounds in plastic piping could be making their way into your water.
Though testing is still in its nascent stages, studies have concluded that High Density Polyethylene (HDPE), Cross Linked Polyethylene (PEX), and Polyvinyl Chloride Pipes (PVC), release both regulated and unregulated VOCs (volatile organic compounds) into the water. Some of these VOCs are carcinogenic as well as endocrine disrupting and neurotoxic.
The tried and true alternative - copper piping - should be the go-to plumbing source until more research on plastic piping is produced, according to the article.
Some fear that copper pipes can corrode and therefore negatively impact drinking water. However this concern, though warranted, should be reserved for older homes. Water treatment plants have added corrosion inhibitors such as fluoride to prevent copper pipe deterioration. Additionally new legislation has mandated potable water pipes to contain less than 0.25% of lead, making copper piping even safer than it was before.